David Bloom

Israeli gas attacks take health toll on West Bank villagers

Witnesses and officials in Jayyous, a farming village in the occupied West Bank, say a series of unprovoked tear-gas attacks by Israeli troops in recent weeks have taken a grave toll on residents’ health. The attacks come with a further tightening of Israeli military control of the town. Shareef Omar Khaled of the Jayyous Land Defense committee noted that Israel’s “separation wall” has now completely cut off the town from its agricultural lands. Shareef reports that soldiers frequently enter to the village and throw tear gas, and that many residents have developed respiratory problems. 

NYC plays hardball with Rachel Corrie protest defendants

A New York City judge has imposed unprecedentedly harsh penalties on a group of anti-war protesters who blocked traffic on 5th Ave. last spring, in a move activists warn is intended as a message for those planning to demonstrate at the upcoming Republican National Convention. Four of the protesters still await sentencing and may face jail time. Judge Robert Stoltz called the protest “an imposition” of protesters’ opinions on “the people of New York City,” and told his courtroom that people attend political demonstrations out of “lack of confidence.” Twelve activists were slapped with to a total of 90 days community service, and fines totalling more than $2,000. Four protesters—who face potential jail time—still await sentencing on May 26. 

The US Media and the Wall: Thomas Friedman and 60 Minutes

The self-imposed US media blackout on the Wall’s construction finally began to lift last August when President Bush mentioned the problems created by Israel’s wall “snaking its way through the West Bank.” Last December, a year and half after bulldozers began cutting the Wall’s path through Palestinian villages, Thomas Friedman hosted a Discovery Channel program in association with The New York Times, and Bob Simon anchored a CBS 60 Minutes segment introducing the controversy surrounding one of the world’s largest construction projects. David Bloom, Patrick Connors, and Tom Wallace examine the two programs.